Welcome to Fizz Biz, a summertime column where we’ll be sipping and appraising hard seltzers all season long. Know of any must-try products out there? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll cut to the chase: if your nearest corner store stocks variety packs of Coors Seltzer and variety packs of White Claw, go with whatever’s cheapest. They’re both perfectly decent, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, low-calorie flavored malt beverages in the 12-oz. slim cans we’ve come to associate with hard seltzer. Both contain the expected lineup of summery fruit and citrus flavors. White Claw’s got 5% ABV but packs 100 calories; Coors sits at 90 calories but boasts 4.5% ABV. Both have 2 grams of sugar and 2 grams of carbohydrates. No one expecting a White Claw will be disappointed by a Coors, and vice versa. That’s what you’re getting with Coors Seltzer: something reliably familiar and refreshing. So if that’s the green light you needed, you can stop reading now and go pick up a pack for your next backyard barbecue. (Oh, and Coors apparently helps save the rivers? Good for them.)
But enough about the variety packs. There’s a fifth flavor of Coors Seltzer that isn’t represented in those 12-packs. It exists outside the normal lineup, wholly separate, sold in dedicated 12-packs of its own. It’s weird and wild, nostalgic and shockingly faithful to its original inspiration. It’s Coors Orange Cream Pop Hard Seltzer, a flavor exclusive to summer 2021, and hand to God, it tastes just like a damn orange cream pop. What I want to know is: how? And why?
Well, as for the “how,” flavor is about 90% smell, and this product certainly understands how to tickle the senses. When you pop the top on this can, it instantly feels like you’ve torn open the wrapper of a quickly melting creamsicle in the hot backseat of the car following an afternoon at the pool. I say “quickly melting” because the temperature at which you drink this beverage is equally important as how you eat its frozen counterpart: take too long, and you’re stuck with a stronger hit of unwelcome vanilla flavoring in your room-temp fizzy drink. It’s best when it’s cracked open ice-cold, its citrus and vanilla halves on equal footing, its effervescence just strong enough to lighten the whole thing up and not leave you with the sensation of drinking something syrupy. Magically, the aftertaste doesn’t linger, either; it dissipates almost immediately, leaving you to wonder whether the concept of orange cream pop seltzer was just some fever dream you had. You take another sip just to confirm that this is all happening. Yep, there it is. You keep going like that, incredulous sip after incredulous sip, until the can is much emptier than you anticipated.
By “you,” of course I mean myself. I took out a Coors Orange Cream Pop Seltzer as a gag at a party, warning everyone around me that they would also have to try a sip if it was as nasty as I expected. But 25 minutes later, I looked down with surprise and found that I was still somehow nursing this surprisingly drinkable seltzer. Maybe this is exactly how the beverage was initially developed at Coors Laboratories: a mere prank that escalated to LTO status. Anything’s possible in the world of hard seltzers!
I don’t think I have the conviction to encourage any of you to pick up 12 whole cans of this stuff at the store, unless you happen to be a cream soda fan, in which case, go right now—this was made for you. But for anyone else, if you see a loose can peeking out from the cooler at your next beach/boat/backyard/bachelor party, grab it. See for yourself just how versatile and surprising spiked seltzers can be. It really is pretty amazing how one sip can so thoroughly transport you to some summer afternoon 25 years ago.